I recently returned from my summer vacation to a little town in south Georgia called Adel. Now, you'd never find this place unless you were intentionally looking for it as it lies somewhere between Tifton and Valdosta on your way down I-75 to Florida. You may ask, "How in the world did you choose that destination?" Well, back in January, two of my greatest friends, Chad and Tracy, moved to Adel to serve at the First Baptist Church. Chad is Minister of Music and Tracy is his wife and partner in ministry.
Since their relocation down south, my friend, Christie, and I had been trying to coordinate a time when we could visit, and finally, all of our schedules matched up to make the August trek. Christie, Tracy, and I are part of a close group of friends that have gone through a lot together and bonded from some interesting experiences that could fill a blog. We were so excited to get to spend time with she and Chad again that we were willing to endure the 10-hour drive to get there.
Tracy and I go way back. We both grew up at the same church, and I first remember her when I assisted with children's choirs at church. After leading her in that capacity, our next encounter was in the singles ministry. She reminds me that my comment of "I've been single too long if Tracy is now in singles" wasn't a very welcoming way for her to enter post high school days, but I've done what I could to make up for that faux pas. Through many experiences during that time, we bonded. Tracy and I have a lot in common, as was reminded to me during my recent visit. It's those things that make me miss her even more.
Chad met Tracy at our home church. I'll admit that I didn't see if at first, but now, I can't imagine her with anyone else. They are best friends and I feel like I've known Chad all my life, just like Tracy. The coolest part was being able to watch them grow together, fall in love, and get married. My house served as Chad's laundry location when he had no facilities at his own apartment. In the words of Tracy, "Only Chad could draw 12 people to watch him do laundry." We'd plan a dinner menu, cook and enjoy a family meal - all while Chad did his laundry. Card playing, American Idol watching, and other assorted activities were all part of this every other week ritual. I'll never forget those nights.
As Christie and I headed to Georgia, Tracy promised to call us every hour. And, she did. She tracked us better than a GPS and calculated the exact time we'd arrive so she and Chad could have supper prepared. When we finally pulled up in the driveway of their adorable house, Tracy was out in the yard to flag us down. Reaching our destination was a welcome sight.
Our visit began with a house tour, led by Tracy, complete with lighting cues from Chad. As we got settled for the evening, Tracy recapped for us the itinerary during our stay. This is one of the things, of many, I miss most about Tracy. She is a planner extraordinaire. Being a bit of an obsessive planner myself, she and I would be the control freaks, um, er, members of our group of friends. When things would spin out of control, you could count on Tracy to get us back on track. Down to explaining the use of the guest bathroom and towel assignments, Tracy was meticulous with details on every aspect of our stay. Some people might find that overkill, I find it refreshing. The creme de la creme came on Sunday morning. Tracy left for church and put in a roast for lunch (for those who know Tracy, she has become an outstanding cook - yep, you read that correctly). Along with the map of Adel, complete with directions to the church, she left a note for us to put in the potatoes after 10am. The note read "Put the potatoes (not the water) in the roast pot after 10am. Please submerge as many as possible." She had laid out the potholders for pot retrieval, and set out all that we would need for breakfast. When I walked into the kitchen and saw that "Tracy touch" I smiled.
The vacation was great. I loved Adel. It was great to see where their life is now and to meet a lot of people I've heard them talk about in name only. Small towns have a lot of appeal, and I'd be happy to live in one if I wasn't single. Until then, I'll enjoy many visits to my new vacation spot, Adel, Georgia.
One of the added bonuses of the trip was witnessing Chad's first musical at the church. A children's musical called "Acorns to Oaks." I had a sappy moment when I watched Tracy orchestrate the children where they needed to go and sat on the front row making sure everything was running smoothly. It reminded me of a time when I sat on a church pew as a children's choir worker watching Tracy perform...and I was experiencing a visual reminder that the torch was being passed...